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LGBT Charity Delivers Humanitarian Aid to Guatemala

Wednesday Aug 10, 2011
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San Francisco, CA. - Rainbow World Fund (RWF), the only international humanitarian aid organization that is based in the LGBT community, just returned from a ten-day humanitarian aid journey to Guatemala. Over the course of the journey 13 volunteers visited orphanages, schools, medical clinics and human rights’ projects delivering over 1,300 pounds of life-saving medications, medical equipment and school supplies as well as hundreds of stuffed animals and a series of monetary grants. RWF’s mission is to promote LGBT philanthropy in the area of global humanitarian aid and development.

This was RWF’s seventh annual visit to Guatemala. Since 2004 RWF has delivered supplies valued at over $1,000,000 and distributed $122,000 in grants to humanitarian-based projects in Guatemala. In addition to delivering much needed aid, the group represented a team of ambassadors for LGBT human rights, met with individuals and groups -- from school children and rural villagers to shamans and religious leaders -- speaking openly of our experiences as LGBT people.

The journey’s highlights included visiting an orphanage for HIV+ children, meeting with the street children of Guatemala City and dialoging with OTRANS, also known as "The Queens of the Night" a group of transgender women fighting for their survival in Guatemala.

RWF also built new and reinforced existing connections with the indigenous Mayan population, exploring our common humanity. Historically, Guatemala’s Mayans have been subjected to genocide by their government, had their marriages invalidated and been denied a voice in the political process. We discovered that the LGBT community has a lot more in common with indigenous people than we realized! The establishment and nurturing of these relationships is important for everyone’s survival, here and abroad.

"I came home knowing that suffering and compassion is actually the greatest equalizer between people regardless of their differences in culture, race, gender or social status," said Laura Tracy, a trip participant.

Over the last seven years RWF has donated over $3 million in humanitarian aid (financial grants/medicine/medical equipment) worldwide on behalf of the LGBT and friend’s community to those in need around the world.

"Rainbow World Fund’s work is about serving humanity, gay and straight alike. We are living in a time that tells us our survival on this planet depends on each of us giving more to each other. The aid that we provide builds relationships and changes misperceptions about who we are. It allows people to see that LGBT people are engaged and positively contributing to the world. We are about showing the world who we really are and what we care about," said Jeff Cotter, RWF Founder.

Founded in 2000, RWF (www.rainbowfund.org) is an all-volunteer international humanitarian service agency based in the LGBT and friends community. RWF’s mission is to promote LGBT philanthropy in the area of world humanitarian relief. RWF works to help people who suffer from hunger, poverty, disease, oppression and war by raising awareness and funds to support relief efforts and sustainable development projects around the world.

Since 2004 RWF has delivered supplies valued at over $100,000 and distributed $122,000 in grants to humanitarian-based projects in Guatemala.

RWF currently supports projects focusing on global HIV/AIDS, water development, landmine eradication, hunger, education, orphans and disaster relief in Africa, Asia, Central America, the Caribbean and the United States. RWF is unique as the world’s first and only LGBT-based humanitarian aid organization.

RWF also works to raise awareness of the charitable contributions of the LGBT community, and to establish connections with non-LGBT communities. RWF programs strengthen the LGBT community by increasing LGBT visibility, serving as a platform for and active demonstration of our community’s compassion and concern. The organization works to change how the world sees LGBT people by building bridges based on compassion, help and hope with the larger world community.

RWF’s philosophy is that we are all "One Human Family" and that we are living in a time that tells us that human survival is directly linked to each of us giving more to each other. RWF works to change the separation consciousness that is underlying the disparity in the world - how people feel divided in the world today - by racism, sexism, homophobia and so on. RWF is about reminding people that we are really all part of one big global family and we need to help each other.

Rainbow World Fund has three primary goals:

  • To provide humanitarian aid to communities in need around the world
  • To create awareness within the LGBT community of the need for these relief efforts
  • To change perceptions of the LGBT community by putting our highest beliefs and values into action demonstrating our compassion and caring for the world. RWF’s projects affect social change at home and abroad through education, networking, developing solidarity, fostering understanding and building community

    "People often ask me why is it important for LGBT people to help others beyond our community. I have often been told ’charity begins at home.’ That may be true, but I believe that we are living in a time when we need to expand our definition of what ’home’ is and realize that the entire planet is our home and that everyone in it is our family," said Jeff Cotter.

    RWF’s recent contributions to world well-being include:

  • Food aid for Hurricane evacuees (including funding one million meals for Hurricane Katrina survivors)
  • Emergency supplies in the aftermath of the South East Asia tsunami
  • Medical supplies and financial aid to various humanitarian projects in Guatemala
  • Water projects throughout Central America which provide safe drinking water to hundreds of desperate people
  • Thousands of pounds of medicine, medical supplies and school supplies to communities in Mexico
  • Launch of a landmine eradication project in Cambodia
  • An HIV/AIDS case management program in South Africa which funds the monthly salaries of rural HIV peer educators
  • A computer lab for a Guatemalan middle school
  • A benefit concert for Haiti
  • Annual trips to Washington DC to advocate on Capitol Hill for development and aid issues
  • Thousands of stuffed animals to children in hospitals, schools and orphanages

    Other high profile projects include RWF’s annual creation of The World Tree of Hope in San Francisco’s City Hall, and The Bus of Hope humanitarian aid trip to Tijuana, Mexico.

    Rainbow World Fund, 4111 - 18th Street, Suite 5, San Francisco, CA 94114

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